Abdoulie G. Dibba
The Regional Project on Sustainable Management of Endemic Ruminant Livestock in West Africa PROGEB E – Gambia, held a day workshop on bush fire management at the Paradise Suites Hotel on Wednesday 18th June 2014.
The workshop brought together participants from the Ministry of Agriculture, the Department of Parks and Wildlife, the Department of Forestry, the Department of Livestock, Department of Water Resources, Gambia Fire and rescue Service, the Gambia Police Force, Chiefs, the Media, Governors and Non-governmental Organisations.
According to the Organisers, the project is intended to create the environment for the implementation of set activities in sustainable Natural Resources Management and that it endeavoured to strengthen and promote the Community forestry concept through capacity building and empowering management structures.
The project coordinating Unit indicated that Key activities included forest rehabilitation through enrichment, planting of trees; bushfire prevention and control by constructing fire-belts and providing fire-fighting materials (high pressure water knapsacks and fire beaters) for putting off accidental fires using community-based approach.
The project they said, also embarked on raising awareness on bushfires through community radio programs and community consultative workshops and village meetings and that Forest and Fire Management Committees were established or revitalized and capacitized through training on forest management including bushfire management, group management and small enterprise development for forest products.
To further ensure sustainability, communities were supported to develop and implement local conventions on NRM including bushfire management as a result of which bushfire incidence and community conflicts have reduced at project sites.
As a result of project interventions, bushfire incidence and extent of area burnt has declined through the 5 years of project implementation and this is indicative of communities’ swift response in preventing fires or putting off fires before they spread.
The project Coordinator Dr. Famara Sanyang asserted that fire incidences have reduced but still large areas are burnt each year although interestingly, community forests and deferred grazing areas which have extra protection by community members were not burnt in the past 5 years.
Dr Sanyang noted that the objective of the Workshop are as follows:-
•Share PROGEBE experience, knowledge and lesson leant on bush fire control
•Discuss on the use and efficacy of community alerts, warnings and information arrangements in general and in particular the use and efficacy of various forms of social media by
•Who to maintain the efficacy of the Bush fire committee in the project sites and outside the project sites
•To develop a national sustainable system of bush fire prevention and management.
•To reinforce our engagement and renew the commitment of all stakeholders in the fight against bush fire and the protect ion and conservation of habitat.
•To specify and reaffirm roles and responsibilities of stakeholders in the sustainable management of bush fires.
•To identify policy loop-holes or policy implementationconstraints on bush fire management.
See the Life of the Rural People Column for details.
PROGEBE is a Regional Project on Sustainable Management of Endemic Ruminant Livestock in West Africa being implemented in four countries: The Gambia, Mali, Guinea and Senegal.
Its goal is, through sound management of natural resources, to define and implement models for community based preservation and management of the critical habitats of endemic ruminant livestock (ERL).